Skip to main content

tv   Legacy of World War I Panel Discussion  CSPAN  December 14, 2014 1:02am-2:02am EST

1:02 am
will come back, everyone. final session of the day answers a question that no matter what type of history you talk about, we find we have to often answer the question, what is the legacy? why does this matter? how does this relate to what we see in the headlines today? with that in mind, we decided to construct our final session, which is a panel discussion of scholars from the old dominion university department of history
1:03 am
and they will reflect on that question -- the legacy and impact of the first world war on today. i won't bore you with all of the biographies of the panel members. you can see the information for yourself in the programs. will cheer rouser and moderate this discussion, and i know he is looking forward to having a good discussion with the audience. dr. rogers, all yours. >> thank you very much. welcome. i am here as sort of a -- we have four o.d.u. professors. i am a professor att.c.c. i am a specialist in british cultural history. i wear a hat at odu. of the journal of scottish studies at old dominion university.
1:04 am
plug in, we are planning a future issue on scotland and the first world war. if anyone has submissions, please see me after the presentation. we hope to make this mostly q between usiscussion and members of the audience. i will start out with a general introduction. the legacies of the first world war certainly are very apparent today. just last week, we had the very moving ceremony involving the almost 900,000 poppies that are surrounding the tower of london in commemoration of the british and colonial and commonwealth dead in the first world war. i was lucky enough to be able to put that on youtube and show it to my students that it was happening. luckily, i had class on november 11. the students were able to see the readings of the last names that they were commemorating and
1:05 am
the marks of tribute. holduld have to have a other conference on the legacies of the first war. there are so many that have resonated, even to our own time. democratic values, self-determination, communism, leninism, and the effects worldwide, fascism, the birth of , it may lead to the holocaust, at least according to the oftorian, the empires, and maybe more portly, the creation of new states, the baltic states, poland, czechoslovakia, yugoslavia, and of course, turkey in the states of the middle east to name just a few. leading to colonial unrest, independencee movement in india, which became
1:06 am
very important to the british empire, and of course, the second world war. i am a cultural historian in many ways. in the artsted during the war and right after the war. we all know the war poets. owen, sassoon, and the prose literature is equally as rich. rob graves, in england, eric partridge. they are britain's testament of youth. a very important legacy of the war. music in the 1960's, when the , works ofs of music art, was britain's war requiem set to the poems of wilford 01. piece called a "morning heroes" back
1:07 am
commemorates the dead of the war, and especially his brother. the visual arts. roberts,, william stanley spencer, henry tom was a very interesting artist who is also a surgeon. images ofy stark wounded soldiers, particularly soldiers who had severe disfigurement. there is an exhibit in london at the kent terrien gallery of his work and how he depicted surgeries that lays the groundwork for modern plastic surgery in a way to help these people reclaim their lives after the war, these wounded people. many countries are commemorating the event. offrance, i think an example renewed french nationalism, the
1:08 am
talkingfficial website about remembering the strength of the nation when it stood together. on july 14, best deal they -- bastille day, the president of france invited 70 nations to participate in a show of common brotherhood in the year that the war started. in germany, it is a more muted response. a lot of people in germany don't want to talk about the militarism of the war. nazismories of how the may be refused the memory of the war. we see a more positive response in russia, with a revival of interest in the royal family, greatar, as a wise an czar, who may have been betrayed by a revolution. in britain, we have the poppies, and we have "downton abbey."
1:09 am
[laughter] it is always with us. to my left is lorraine leaves. on americancialist foreign-policy and diplomatic history. she will say a few words about that. markova.ft is anna she is a historian of the late ottoman empire, the balkans, citizenships, and minorities in the ottoman empire. who is a historian of american immigration in particular in the late 19th and early 20th century. i will start out with a few more remarks about england and push it to my colleagues. we will take questions and i hope you guys can also reflect on the last -- today and yesterday's conference and what came out of that.
1:10 am
memorialized the first world war and thought about it a great deal. we do have the issue of sacrifice. in england, sacrifice is often associated with -- in france, it is done. we have the poppies. we first started seeing that in england in 1921. the veterans organizations, especially in england, the royal british legion, started distributing them. one thing i find interesting about the legacy of the first world war is how it accelerated nsanges that had origi before the war and may be right at the outset of the war. many of our speakers have alluded to classic books about the whole issue and a couple of times, the guns of august came up. very famous book that came out in the 1960's. people of my generation would
1:11 am
have started to first learn about some of these issues, barbara tuchman. for many british historians, a classic book which probably isn't very strong today but it was certainly well-written, is a book called "the strange death of liberal england" by george dangerfield. that book is interesting in this context because it pointed to will gainengland that momentum and be resolved in some way by the war and right after the war. in particular, the rise of labor, the power of the labour , becamerade unionism pretty radicalized in scotland, for example. it was a major topic towards the end of the war. the leads, of course, to ascendancy of the labour party and the first labor government in 1924, in a result in some
1:12 am
ways as a change of a war. it also led to the famous boat from king george v, when he allowed the labor government to take office. he said 22 years after the death of his grandmother, queen victoria, i wonder what dear grandmama would think of a labour government. [laughter] towardss a greater move democracy, with universal male suffrage, and women were in franchised in 1918. they had to be 30. they could not handle a vote unless they were older than men. that is changed by the 1920's. one thing i found interesting in problems in the nature of the british state itself, particularly involving in the days of the
1:13 am
summer of 1914, many people in england paid no heed to what was going on in the european continent, even after the assassination of france ferdinand. were preoccupied with the irish question. the government at the time was planning to give ireland autonomy. that would have meant the majority of irish would have been roman catholic, and that created a huge opposition from ulster, the mostly protestant section. it looked as if, had that logon through, the people of ulster would have risen up in some way arms and started civil war. these ulster men were supported wholeheartedly by the english conservative party, the tory to helpnd they agreed them. it looked as if there might be a civil war.
1:14 am
even the english army, if they were called upon to restore order, many officers were inclined to try to find a way to either resign or not show up for work when called upon in this became a severe crisis. the war put that on ice for a while, but irish nationalism continued. most notably reflected in the eastern rising of 1916 and the bloodshed that caused. "thateats called, terrible beauty." the separation of ireland from the rest of the united kingdom with the creation of the irish free state in 1920's without ulster. these issues are still playing out. these are still major issues in the british isles. for me, that is an important connection to what the war represented.
1:15 am
when other connection, or two other connections, we fast-forward. another commemoration we are working on is the berlin wall coming down. it is interesting how margaret thatcher was so apprehensive about a united germany. one would certainly suspect that she was thinking not just of world war ii, but germany and world war i. a big issue for her time. that reminds us of the first world war -- if you remember the wedding of kate and william, after the wedding, kate's bouquet was placed on the black slab, the unknown warrior in westminster abbey. that is the unknown soldier. it is a mark of tribute, a mark of respect. that tradition goes back to ,923, when the queen mother
1:16 am
lady elizabeth, married the duke of york. as she left the abbey, her bouquet went on the slab as well. that is because she lost her brother in the first world war. her brother was killed in the first world war. the present queen's uncle died in the first world war. she never knew him. there was a lot of connection between that event and leading up to almost the present day. all right. i'm just going to speak about the u.s. legacy, or the legacy of the war for the u.s.. the u.s. is in the war for a short period of time compared to the rest of the combatants. u.s. casualties are very low. there is no damage to u.s. homefront. the american economy actually booms during the war, and as you all know, the united states of merges as the world's majo r creditor nation. they exercise and a notice
1:17 am
amount of power around the 1920's. so much so that what we think of the americanization of europe begins in the 1920's. it is to the extent that american brand names become synonymous with the product itself. if you were a housewife in great britain in the 20's, you did not vacuum your cocarpet, you hoovered them. the war had important repercussions at home. many cases, world war i accelerates trends that have already been underway. for example, there is a growth in presidential power, but that has also been happening since the turn-of-the-century. there is a lot of government intervention in the economy, and that will reseed in the 1920's, but obviously will become a fact of life because of the great depression and second world war. woodrow wilson does do some
1:18 am
things that had not been done before. many of which are negative. for example, he will suppress civil liberties more than any of his predecessors ever had, although again, the suppression of civil liberties in wartime goes back to the 1790's. woodrow wilson does take it to an extreme. franklin roosevelt he will not make the same mistakes that wilson does, but as we all know, he makes others that are perhaps even worse. that idea that the constitution takes a backseat to a war really becomes ingrained in the american system. revolution that occurs in russia in 1917 crystallizes a fear of radicals that is always part of the american psyche. the result is the red scare of the 1920's, immigration
1:19 am
restriction, and this again will establish a pattern for things that will happen throughout the 20th century. there is some genuine change just as it was in great britain. butn get the right to vote, not until 1920. the united states is a little bit behind there. , havingamericans distinguished themselves in battle, come back determined to fight for their rights at home. start of theee the modern civil rights movement as a result of the great war. the u.s. rejects wilson's peace plan because the u.s. sees more danger than security in the treaty oversize. versailles.y of harry truman was an artillery officer in the great war. 1918, he wrote a letter to his cousin and he told her of a saying that was making the rounds.
1:20 am
i think this sort of illustrates perhaps why the american public not support the treaty of her side. the saying was, "germany was fighting for territory. england for the sea. france for patriotism. the americans for souvenirs." i think that conveys the fact that wilson never really made the stakes of this war as a parent to the american public as he should have. harry truman also represents some other aspects of the legacy of the war. on november 1, 1918, he was on n, and he wrotedu a letter to his cousin telling her he saw a little poppy coming up through the rocks and he thought the flower had a nerve on trying to grow on a site in a terrible battle. but it looks so pretty in a
1:21 am
place that he had to pick it and send it to her. he sent want to bet as well. there you see some the poignancy of the war. on november 11, while he was waiting for the armistice to take affect, he whicha letter to beth in he expresses feelings of the enemy. "it is a shame we cannot go in and detonate germany and cut off a few of the kids' hands and feet and scalp a few of the old men. i guess it will be better to make them work for france and belgium for 50 years." here is the man most associated droppingpublic mind on the bomb on japan in 1945. when he does that, in a public statement he releases, he says, this is revenge for pearl harbor. i think the question is, was he made calais by the first world war or was that always part of his character? obviously, there are some
1:22 am
connections there. wilson's rhetoric of self-determination inspired many around the world, and that is particularly true of people living in colonial areas. when we think of the treaty of versailles, we think of major powers that were present at paris. not everyone there was a major power. for example, a 28-year-old kitchen worker who was living in paris at the time of the conference tried to make an appointment with woodrow wilson to present him with a petition for his country's independence. place,ting never took and a few decades later, we would come to know that man is ho chi minh. there were lots of people there who are trying to make wilson and the other powers live up to the rhetoric of self-determination. ho chi minh was one of many that
1:23 am
found the rhetoric did not extend to colonial peoples. nationalism and wars of liberation and all that will be the most important stories of the 20th century. wilson's peace plan does sort of linger at home. franklin roosevelt, as we heard, his assistant secretary of the navy during the first world war, was very determined to avoid some of the mistakes that wilson had made. wilson's memory. in march of 1945, roosevelt andrned from the conference went to address the american congress to explain to them what had gone on at the crimean concert -- crimean conference. the speech is remarkable for a number of reasons. as a first time he publicly made mention of the disability.
1:24 am
he apologized to congress for sitting down while making the speech, because he said after the 14,000 mile journey, he could not bear the weight of his leg braces on his legs. he had never talked about that before. relate whatwould happened at the conference, he asked for the support of congress and made reference to ghosts of the past. he said at the end of his speech , "25 years ago, american fighting men looked to the statement of the world to look for the peace that for they fought and suffered. we failed them then. we cannot fail them again and expect the world to survive." is evoking the ghost of woodrow wilson. the world survived after 1945, i been but peace has elusive. i think that is one of the unfortunate legacies of the war. >> i will just briefly connect to what lorraine said about the
1:25 am
right to self-determination, which many people in the post-ottoman world discovered to be reserved for some, but not for others. inm remembering now that 1919, just before the french ,ook over syria and lebanon there was a convention of the syrian national congress and the participants laid out the points arguing why they should begin independence. one of the points was, after the treaty of berlin in of 1878, the bulgarians and serbs and romanians were given independence. they are not more civilized or more mature than we are. i will talk about the legacy of the war in the context of the balkans, the post-ottoman balkans. it is true that most of the balkans gain some form of independence after the treaty of
1:26 am
berlin of 1878 and some of the issues that resurfaced after world war i were already figured there. the big issue was minorities, because the population had been so mixed. after national borders were drawn, something had to be done about minorities. places like bogue area or greece had adaria or greased hoc regulation initially, what to do with those who were different from the nation. it is really the end of world war i, with his emphasis on protecting minorities, that forced the post-ottoman balkan states to articulate some sort of framework for dealing with those who are different from the hegemonic nation. on one level, on paper that was wonderful. sudden, muslims in
1:27 am
bulgaria were given a special statute, quite a bit of autonomy to take care of their religious .roperty and affairs they had a democratic system of electing representatives to communal organizations. that came along with strict monitoring. around the time, every single minority newspaper, whether it k, turkish,-- gree armenian, it had a filing of greece. from the perspective of bulgarian authorities, and later perspective of greek and turkish authorities, once you do find a minority, your creating a separate part of the state. the establishment of minority regulations, while they were intended to ensure democratic rights, in fact it led to stricter monitoring of people
1:28 am
who are not members of the dominant nation. that kind of legacy of world war i sort of lingers on. there is always fear to this day greeks, orvs and turks and bulgarians, if they are given some sort of rights, it would lead to the loss of territory. major legacyther of world war i in the post-ottoman world, this very tight link between population and sovereignty. the big example is the exchange between the turkish in the greek populations after world war i that sort of solidified this title link between territory population and sovereignty.
1:29 am
numeroust, there were smaller regulations and regulated migrations. to turkey ors went bulgarians came to bulgaria, they were settled in border regions because from the perspective a central authorities, once you have nationals in border regions, your secure enough on your borders but you are making sure that the territory will never be lost again. this very interesting how perception of sovereignty can be tracing demographic surveys. the population after world war i changing because of this perception, that you have to secure borders of populations. there is a great fear to this day that concentrated populations would lead to the loss of territory. there is historical relevance to
1:30 am
that. ware take the legacy of the to the present day, we will see that there are all sorts of diplomatic negotiations about trade or about issues which are not directly connected to nationalism, and whenever two ,overnments come to different conflicting points, there are references to history, back to what happened in world war i in particular, and regulated migration. some of the political tensions we see now days can directly traced to minority regulations after world war i. i will stop with that. >> good afternoon. i'm going to speak more about the immediate consequences or legacies of the war, particularly for global migrants. what i have to say parallels nicely with what professor
1:31 am
markova just discussed. on the eve of world war i, transatlantic migration reached a remarkable high point of over 2.1 million people. world war i's major significance, for me and other historians interested in the international migration, is the war marked a turning point during which a fairly integrated global economy of people and products shifted quite precipitously towards a more protectionist one, yet increasingly closed the world's borders to mobile people. during what historians called the age of mass migration, he'll most century-long epics starting in the mid-19th century, millions of people are on the move, leaving their homelands, pushed and pulled by the expansion of global capitalism, labor demands, famines, violence, and new transportation and medication technology.
1:32 am
while the u.s. did not receive the majority of international migrants, the country did receive more migrants than any other single country or colonial territory during this. 's -- during this period. its thought -- rethought relation to the next of the world. of thethe first decades 20th century, 9 million people arrived in the united states, the large majority came from europe from countries on both sides of the conflict that had engulfed european nations and their colonies by 1914. before the war, the u.s. had been somewhat clueless about immigrants and foreign relations. that is, immigrants cultural, familiar, and economic ties to their homelands. the reality that immigrants came to an existed in the u.s., but remained in a transnational
1:33 am
world that tied them intimately to the homelands, did not fit well into this myth of isolationism that had factored so centrally in u.s. nationbuilding. world war i kind of burst of the myth of isolationism apart, rendering immigrants ties, and through them the u.s.' ties, to the rest of the world, visible and visibly treacherous. in the context of the increasing chaos in europe, the u.s. foreign-born population appeared increasingly dangerous too many americans who saw u.s. national identity and sovereignty threatened by immigrants and during transnational times. immigrants faced a lot of pressure to melt into the melting pot during and after the war. of xenaades worth phobic activity took on new intensity after 1914. during the war, the hyper national 100% americanism
1:34 am
movement, combined with pseudo-size -- pseudoscientific ideas about racial identity, sought the asation of immigration protecting the u.s. from the world. it was aimed at mostly immigrants from china and other asian countries, and culminated in three laws passed by congress during and immediately after the war. the 1924 immigration act, which used a racially discriminatory quota system to drastically reduce the number of southern and eastern european immigrants perfecting asian exclusion really close the gates to transpacific migrations, a closing that would not be pried open until 1965. not the u.s. was
1:35 am
exceptional in intensifying focus on its borders in the early 19th century. the u.s. pioneered legislation exclude various racial groups, but various policies were adopted by other empires and the colonies, as well as countries in the western hemisphere, including mexico and canada, both of which experienced diplomatic pressure by the u.s. to close their gates and borders. the increasingly global quality of restrictions on global people during and after world war i, a conflict that dislodged but fortified borders, reveals the extent to which borders and the people who move across them played and continue to play in nationbuilding projects. surprised that the interwar years witnessed a trend towards the consolidation of
1:36 am
national borders globally, as well as challenges to these ,onsolidations by nationstates by multi-ethnic populations, and by migrants every day movement. immediately after the war during the 1920's, international migration actually resumed until the global wide depression. saw astwar world universalizing of restrictive regimes in the form of more rigid international passport controls, deportation drives, the massive population exchanges mentioned, inva general restrictions, not only on immigration, but emigration, the right to leave a nation. of high nationalism characterizing the post-world war i period, the assumption that the national borders were person's writes
1:37 am
arose fromrights their citizenship and not elsewhere. the following global wide depression and rising nationalism during the 1930's exhibited obvious signs of a globalization of backlash that endured until the end of the cold war, when a new international order supported a move towards a liberalization of borders. while immigration restrictions were part of a longer trend towards border control linked to nationalism in the mid to late 19th century, world war i really strengthened this trend, fostering in a new era of feariction, a new era of of mobile peoples that stood in stark contrast to the 19th century. ironically, in america it was only after massive restrictions
1:38 am
on transatlantic and transpacific migrations achieved their intended effect that the u.s. begin to celebrate itself as a nation of immigrants, which of course endures today as one of the most common ways the u.s. itsdefined itself, defiance history, and defined its exceptionalism. by turning to immigrants and the united states affecteds how the war immigrants transnational connections. u.s. entrance into the war had a. optical effect -- had a whilexical effect simultaneously awaking and intensifying immigrants' ties to homelands across the ocean. the war gave the opportunity for first and second-generation immigrants to prove their patriotism during a time when their loyalties were deeply in question.
1:39 am
thisng better illustrates than the over half a million immigrants drafted into military service during the war, including many immigrants who had not yet declared their ntion to naturalize and were technically exempt from the draft, but waved the right of exemption and allowed themselves to be drafted. other first and second-generation immigrants paraded their support for the effort by buying wire bonds, donating money to wartime organizations, participating in patriotic celebrations, and working in war-related industries. with about 18% of the u.s. military for an-born during world war i, the military had to multiethnic, multilingual army in ways that fostered a sense of conformity in americanness, but also in a way that recognized and even respected immigrants' ethic traditions and loyalties.
1:40 am
the remarkable sympathy that the u.s. military displayed for the dual identities of its immigrant ethnic soldiers makes the real and very oppressive nativist movement during and after the war all the more surprising and paradoxical. providesld war i immigrants a platform for displaying their patriotism towards their adopted country, it also simultaneously provided a way for migrants to demonstrate support for their homeland and indeed, these two expressions of loyalty and national identification were not mutually exclusive. many immigrant groups had much to gain, or lose, in the war. czech, jewish, serbian, irish immigrants hoped that world war i would result in individual homelands for part of a dream that would be realized
1:41 am
for some groups and not for others. identifying as exiled and oppressed peoples, many immigrants left your precisely because they had been marginalized by a powerful european empire. theythey were in the u.s., continued to operate in transnational worlds where the people and politics of their homelands and regions loomed large. andgrants' cultural explicitly political expressions of commitment to homeland causes signal to some anglo-americans that migrants were unassimilated. historians have shown that ' fory did immigrants relations threaten american sovereignty, and a most cases nationalism and ethnic consciousness coexisted with assimilation to u.s. society. the history of assimilation in
1:42 am
world war i shows immigrants combining or ethnic and american identities in ways that positioned them solidly in two cultures. to conclude, world war i confirmed too many americans the of what an open, unregulated border could mean for the future of the country. a country where the myth of isolationism had blinded many americans to the ways in which the u.s. was very much connected to the rest of the world through its numerous immigrants. they see them as dangerous in part because they remind the .ountry it saw a global shift towards a world more increasingly hostile
1:43 am
of mobile people. i will stop there. >> thank you. , you think of what an issue that was as the allies are carving up areas of the former ottoman empire. issue, anna was talking about how that resonates today. i have a close friend who is on gary and. -- who is on gary and. -- hungarian. one treaty to him the transferred a large part of gary is still like it happened yesterday. maybe you can talk about bash, how minorities are still in issue to many countries in the balkans. >> it also is a place where migrant populations are always
1:44 am
thought of. >> greece and macedonia? >> turkey, greece, and bulgaria. >> time for questions. comments and questions. >> we still have a number of speakers here and we have a variety of other expertise not represented on the panel. we are all happy to answer questions, too. >> i wanted to keep going with the minority issues. it is close to my heart. i married into a family of bulgarian-turkish migrants. it is something that actually comes up a lot and family history. the point i wanted to make, and you can comment as you would like, what i often hear from students writing papers in the
1:45 am
.ort of thing the selective treatment and the european hypocrites and so on, and i hear where they are coming from. what i do trying to condition the critique with is a bit of detail where some of the groups came from that were offered the states. if you look at the treaty of berlin, they contribute troops to the russian war. serbia eclair war on the ottomans before russia did. bulgaria was an army of volunteers. , whatbout syria, iraq about the kurds? the interesting point is that none of them actually contributed to major legions or detachments to the allies' war cause. the zionists, you have the jefferson jewish legion in syria, and also had the british made it sound like it was worth more than it actually was, abdul
1:46 am
and the arabs were attached in some fashion. the armenians also had a legion attached. a casebalkans, it seems more of which side you chose. if you are on the right side of the war, that is what determined it. it may not have been entirely arbitrary, but the decisions being made about the futures of these minority peoples, whatever wilson's rhetoric and ideals were basically seen us part of contributions to the war effort. > on gary and's-- the hungarians lost. the arabs were on the winning side, and they still lost. >> sure. the bulgarians contributed quite a bit of effort in world war i. they did fight. [laughter]
1:47 am
1:48 am
i see your point. >> the classic example is what happened to the greeks. the greeks were the winners and then overreached didn't they? >> yes. >> yes. thank you. my question is, when you have a n army that's bogged down in less than sanitary conditions, and not particularly mobile, what is the legacy of the mobility that we have now compared to the acknowledged lack of mobility then? that's one question. the second is, did that lack of
1:49 am
mobility and the disease that it fostered, was that a primary reason for ending the war, or was it some mystical battle that just forced armies to separate? and that is aimed at the spanish flu and the tens of thousands of people on both sides of the line that died of it. were the countries just not able to continue fighting because of the lack of sanitation and the lack of disease control? >> it comes very late i guess in the war, but i think any of us are qualified to answer that. maybe somebody in the audience can address that issue. >> well, it's really late. i mean, really, the spanish flu epidemic comes after, so it's after -- it's in 1918 and it really begins in august of 1918. so you're actually already kind of past that stage.
1:50 am
i mean, if you want to look at it from my research, if you look at the austrian border, those areas are 90% obliterated by august, 1918. they're gone, well before the flu. >> mora, andrew wants to contribute something. >> i think we have to say that question goes beyond the scope of this panel. >> just in terms of hygiene and sanitation, the second world war, the british fought between 1899 and 1902, 21,000 dead of flu, 7,000 died from enemy action. the rest of disease. i hate to sound facetious but the great wars are very, very hydrogeologist genic wars in some ways because very few people died from disease apart from the middle east. in the western front the great
1:51 am
advantage for logistics is the front doesn't move very much. it is very easy to supply people and rotate them through, so it's not a big killer. that said, as you indicate, flu kills a lot of people, but it's really at the end of the war and the war ends with the armistice essentially because germany is losing, really that simple. it's not because people get exhausted or bored by it. they have lost the war. >> professor, you mentioned self-determination and independence. my question to you is, the american policy, have you studied the history of that? i have a keen eye for the obvious, and it seems to me a glaring hypocrisy that the united states government supports self-determination in south vietnam, south korea, south africa, but not for south
1:52 am
carolina. do you have any thoughts on that? >> well, we all know what ratio is used and they're appalling. that's one of the reasons he went to ho chi minh. he cooperates in the effort to deny the japanese a racial equality clause at versailles. you have to look at this in the context of the time period. unfortunately, that's the context of the time period. franklin roosevelt, a better anticolonialist than woodrow wilson, but there are issues there as well. and i think the foreign policy that a nation has reflects its domestic agenda. i think that's the best answer i can give for something like that. the domestic agenda has to change. the domestic mindset has to change before you see a change in the foreign policy. >> my grandmother defied her
1:53 am
well born and wealthy family to leave home and become a nurse. my question is two parts. we know current battlefield medicine is making great strides for millions. you mentioned plastic surgery. i'd like to know what else came out of the great war, and secondly, though grandmother in her late 20's right after the war did manage to find an appropriate husband, so many millions of women did not. yet we didn't turn to polygamy for that in europe. could you tell me more bellator the effect -- more about the effect the lack of men had on the women both in lack of families and in having to support themselves because they did not have a husband to support them?
1:54 am
>> i think, it's a european or british phenomenon. it isn't american. can you speak to that in great britain? i mean, there's a whole generation of women who will have no husbands. and that can speak perhaps to the battlefield medicine side of it or bill or whoever >> you see the classic example from vera britain who served on the western front as a nurse. and medicine as i understand had made great strides but you're no longer -- still not in the area of antibiotics yet. so you could have many people saved who would never have been saved before so that is why after the war there are so many people who are disfigured veterans and even seeing something like that very interesting play, "johnny got his gun" the quadruple amputee and they were able to save him and the only way he can
1:55 am
communicate is by banging his head on the pillow in morse code. that would have been impossible in the civil war for example i think. >> the subject of medicine in world war i is so huge that it would be really hard to give you an answer. i'll try and do it really quickly. the x-ray machine was invented before world war i but it was only really understood during world war i. you had to have those machines in order to look at where shrapnel was in the body and that sort of thing. so those sorts of advances were important. the whole birth of plastic surgery comes here. there is going to be a new motion picture out next year on plastic surgery coming out of world war i. you have as well prosthetics. all of that's developed at this time, and so it is head trauma, all of those things really begins with the kind of
1:56 am
injuries that come out of world war i. certainly nursing is so important. there is an interesting thing about nursing in world war i is that oftentimes doctors couldn't really do anything because the wounds were so extensive the men were just going to die. and so doctors come out of world war i feeling really inept, whereas nurses really could help people. they could be with them as they died, and so women really get a boost in terms of feeling important in that context. in terms of marriage, boy. i'll let laura answer that. >> the obvious answer is really long in a lot of ways, but many women are -- the aspect of the generation is that what you do have, i think, more than what women are going to do because they don't have partners is the
1:57 am
growth of demographic policies under the fascists that are really influenced by the fact that there is this sense that there goes not a generation -- is not a generation growing up. this idea of the lost generation. if you think about systems of women are the ones who are less -- women don't have their own citizenship so that women are left stateless. those are the bigger problems, too, in the legal realm. so there's a huge variety of things we could talk about. >> one more thing. let's not forget the psychological side of all this. the enduring legacies of many veterans of the war with was shell shock. of course that leads to greater developments in psychiatry. we have the characters in miss dalway. we have the novels of pat barker discussing these issues.
1:58 am
there is another side of this issue, right? >> we have time for one or two more questions. >> yes. >> how much -- how historically accurate was the novel "all quiet on the western front"? did it promote any sort of sympathy for germans in general? >> i don't know how much sympathy it promoted but it certainly promoted sympathy for those opposed to warfare. it, you know, it's the classic anti-war novel. it's one of several he wrote. there is a sequel called "the road back" and then "three comrades." i think it is most interesting how it obviously had a greater influence as a film. i remember seeing it the first time, i was just devastated by the realism of it. and it certainly reinforced
1:59 am
pass fism -- pacifism for a great many people. other people like the nazis hated it because it did not glorify war. when they would try to show that in germany they tried to disrupt theatrical performances. they would set off smoke bombs and stink bombs so people would leave the theaters. so, you know, it's the classic novel obviously, one of many great films of the first world war. there are more coming out. one of my favorites is "paths of glory" and -- >> the flip side from the german perspective is "storm of steel" which gives the sense -- if you put those two novels together, you have the one classic anti-war and the one classic german aggression. i'm not sure that overall literature was any kind of sympathy for germany. one last question.
2:00 am
>> thank you. can any of you talk about the iraq area and the effects of the first world war and the minorities of that area and how that led to the current problems we have searching -- >> we need another conference for that. iraq was originally a british mandate after the first world war. and britain was going to use that basically -- it wasn't as much oil yet as fear of maybe russian aggression toward india. but by the early 1920's it was because of local insurgencyies, actually, that it was turned over, prince fiesal who had tried to become king of syria was now installed -- kicked out by the french from syria which was their mandate. and faisal was sent to iraq and
2:01 am
an independent iraq but under a lot of -- there were a lot of ties to britain, so they fight jordan. there was a sig can't tie to the colonial power. but it was a very big issue. >> thank you all very, very much.
left
right

9 Views

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on